As I take the time to learn more about the civil rights movement, I am faced with how little I knew about the female leaders of the civil rights movement. Discovering them has given me perspective how sexism impacted the civil rights movement. These women face the obstacles from within their organizations and the outside forces they were trying to fight. The courage and spirit that these women lived show us how we all should live.
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Ella Baker was known as the Mother of the civil rights movement. However, she had different idea of how things should be done. Baker didn’t believe there should be a sole leader of civil rights. Instead, she believed in grassroots political action and collective activism. This belief put her on the fringe of the movement.
Pauli Murray was a black queer feminist and lawyer erased from the history of civil rights movement. She also had friendship with Eleanor Rossevelt and was the first African-American woman to be ordained a priest in the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Nell Braxton Gibson was 12-years-old when 14-year-old Emmett Till was killed 60 miles from her home. Imagine what you would have done in the face of such ugliness. Her book is a coming-of-age story about her experience living in the segregated South.